The Second Birthday Cake

Mister always wants ice cream cake on his birthday. His wish is understandable, what with the glorious goodness of ice cream cake and all. Still, a January boy’s requests for ice cream cake just make the room feel extra chilly. Luckily, the birthday boy got his wish. I can’t say no to him. Besides, the ice cream maker was beckoning for me to use it again.

The cake was assembled as follows: in a 13 inch spring form pan bake a half recipe of these brownies and allow them to cool completely. Then, make a recipe for the filling of raspberry Eskimo pie, and top the brownie layer with it, evening it to the edges with a spatula and then popping into the freezer. For the third and final layer, I made deeply chocolate ice cream (recipe to follow). When the ice cream is made, spread it evenly over the Eskimo pie layer. Then I gave Mister my color wheel of sprinkles and let him go wild.

With a home made ice cream cake, keep it in the freezer until you’re just about ready to serve it, but give it a few minutes to soften before cutting it so that the sleeve of the spring form pan will come off without cracking the cake and so that cutting slices will be easier.

(Thank you Mister for pouring for the camera!)

Darkly intense home made chocolate ice cream on light and fluffy raspberry Eskimo pie on fudgy brownie, that’s an ice cream cake of grand proportion. I’m not going to give a recipe for the cake per se, the recipes for the bottom two layers have already appeared here, and have been linked to in the above paragraphs. The chocolate ice cream, deeply chocolate ice cream is the new thing. And here is the recipe:

Deeply Chocolate Ice Cream

(with infinitely small adaptations from Trish’s Darker Chocolate Ice Cream)

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup cocoa powder

1/2 Cup water

4 egg yolks

1 Tbsp honey (I used buckwheat honey, because that was what I had in the pantry)

1/2 Cup hot milk

1/2 Cup cocoa powder

1 Cup coffee cream

2 Tbsp Godiva liqueur

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and the first measure of cocoa powder. Gradually mix in the water so that the mixture is not clumpy.
  • Place the pan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, mixing often so that the sugar dissolves and does not burn. Boil the syrup until it is a glossy brown.
  • In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks and honey. Temper the egg yolk mixture with the chocolate syrup, and then whisk in the egg yolks. Cook the custard to 170° F.
  • In another bowl, or a measuring cup, make a paste of the milk and the second measure of cocoa powder. This is what makes the ice cream so deeply chocolate tasting. Beat the chocolate paste into the custard.
  • Finally add the coffee cream and the Godiva liqueur.
  • Cover the mixture and chill so that it the flavors develop and it will behave itself in the ice cream maker. When it is chilled completely, follow your ice cream maker’s requirements and make the ice cream.

Parts of me are almost sad that all of the ice cream cake was gone by the next morning, I wish I could have had a bigger piece.

Mister says his second cake was really good; that the contrast of textures and flavors was really nice between the layers of the cake. Also, he liked the intensity of the chocolate flavor in the ice cream.


Pear Upside Down Brownie

(a recipe experiment from the mind of Dana!)

It starts with a basic premise: something like pineapple upside down cake.

But with pears. ‘Tis the season! Also, pears are my most favorite fruit. So, pear upside down cake.

…but the pears should be poached, that way some other good flavors can get in with the pears, and they won’t still be raw when the cake is baked. Maybe cinammon, or honey. Mm, poached pear upside down cake.

Chocolate goes really well with pears! How about a chocolate-poached-pear-upside-down cake?

That title is getting long, ha ha.

What if the chocolate cake was a brownie instead?

Pear Upside Down Brownie


4 pears

8-10 allspice berries

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

2-3 Cups water (enough to cover the pears, it will depend on the pot you use)

1 1/3 Cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup butter

1 Cup cocoa powder

2 Cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Peel and core the pears, and then slice them lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices.
  • In a saucepan, combine the allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the pears, making sure that the poaching liquid covers them. Bring to a simmer and let them get cooked through and redolent of the spices (~20-25 minutes).
  • While the pears poach, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter, and after it is melted, add to it the cocoa, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Butter a 13×9 inch cake pan.
  • When the pears are done poaching, remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and arrange in a single layer.

  • Pour the brownie batter over top of the pears, gently so as to not upset their distribution, and even it out toward the edges with a spoon.
  • Bake in a 350° oven until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (~30-35 minutes).
  • Cool for 5 minutes and then turn the brownie out onto a plate or a cooling rack. If any of the pears stick to the pan, just place them back where they were supposed to be.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing, and if you’re feeling extravagant, serve your pieces with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

I quite enjoyed this experimental brownie. Poaching the pears made the house smell divine. The pears were just the right texture, the spice from the poaching process worked it’s way into the brownie layer in a lovely way too. Oddly, the brownie didn’t get the top sheen on it that a brownie normally will, perhaps due to the extra moisture from the pears?

Either way, it’s a recipe that will be worth making again, I think. It just didn’t come out with the gooey caramel-y part I was wishing would come with it, like in a pineapple upside down cake. Maybe I could concoct something with the poaching liquid and place it in the bottom of the pan with the pears. It’s going to take a little more experimentation, but at least it is experimentation of a tasty kind. Any suggestions?